GPLLM graduate Mark Mahoney

From the Fall-Winter 2012 issue of Nexus.

By Randi Chapnik Myers / Photography By Jeffery Kirk

Midway through his associate career on Bay Street in Toronto, Mark Mahoney, a lawyer specializing in securities and corporate/commercial law at Fraser Milner Casgrain, was contemplating an MBA to beef up his business knowledge. Then he heard about U of T’s GPLLM degree.

Intrigued, Mahoney attended an introductory session to find out more. “I was impressed by the fact that this would be executive, not thesis-style learning, and I was excited about the opportunity to interact with both practitioners and clients in school,” he says. The program surpassed his expectations.

“The best part was hearing a broad range of perspectives through engaging debates,” he says. “It’s not sitting through lectures. Here, you’re engaged on specific topics where instructors and students have direct work experience. You’re going way beyond the readings by learning from each other.” And, he adds, it was amazing to see professors take notes during class. “They were learning as much as we were.”

For a busy litigator, going back to school took juggling, he admits. It helped that the hours were predictable and that the firm backed his commitment. In the short term, coworkers had to cover him, but the GPLLM has given him unique networking opportunities with existing and prospective clients that could eventually develop into new business for the firm, Mahoney says.

“I had ongoing files on my desk. It was fantastic to be able to ask real-life questions of professionals in class to get their thoughts, and benefit from their experience.”

Now that he has brought so much wisdom back to the firm, Mahoney predicts that coworkers will be considering taking the program as well. It’s been that valuable, he says, pointing out that the job market is increasingly competitive among lawyers.

“These days, it’s hard to distinguish yourself. Now that I know the names and faces of top practitioners in the city, I have contacts in companies that I’ve gotten to know on a different level. Now it’s up to me to leverage that into something tangible.”

Find out more about the GPLLM.